Wembley to stage historic double draw for 2023 Challenge Cup as Leigh Leopards and Salford Red Devils compete in Women’s tournament for the first time

THE draws for the early rounds of both the Betfred Men’s and Women’s Challenge Cups will be held on Thursday January 12 at Wembley Stadium.

Of course, the finals of both the men’s and women’s competitions will be staged at Wembley in what will be a first for the sport.

The Men’s Challenge Cup Final will return to Wembley in August 2023 after a two-year absence, and will be preceded for the first time by the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final.

In the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup, the 12 teams from the Betfred Women’s Super League – including the champions Leeds Rhinos, the 2022 Cup winners St Helens, and three new names for the competition in Leigh Leopards, Salford Red Devils and York Valkyrie – will be joined by Oulton Raidettes and Hull KR from the Women’s RL Championship, and Cardiff Demons and London Broncos from the Betfred Women’s Super League South.

The 16 teams will be drawn into four groups of four, with matches beginning on April 23, and the top two from each group qualifying for Quarter Finals on June 18.

The Betfred Challenge Cup will kick off on the weekend of February 11-12 with 34 teams from the community game including each of the three Armed Forces, six teams from the Southern Conference League, and one each from Wales, Scotland and Ireland – with Dublin City Exiles returning to the competition for the first time since 2002.

The 17 winners will be joined in the Second Round two weeks later by 10 teams from the Impact Performance National Conference League Premier Division and 11 teams from Betfred League One – including Cornwall RLFC, who will make their debut in the competition in their second full season, and Dewsbury Rams, who played in the first Wembley Final in 1929.

The 10 NCL Premier teams include a new name in Hunslet ARLFC, who have been formed through the merger of the 2022 champions Hunslet Club Parkside with Hunslet Warriors – and will join Hunslet RLFC, their professional neighbours, in the draw.

The First and Second Round draws will both be held at Wembley on January 12, and covered live, with the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup First Round draw, on BBC Sport – with further details of coverage to follow in the New Year.

Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup – First Round draw

Barrow Raiders, Bradford Bulls, Cardiff Demons, Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos, Leigh Leopards, London Broncos, Oulton Raidettes, Salford Red Devils, St Helens, Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors, York Valkyrie.

Betfred Challenge Cup – First Round draw

NCL (13) – Featherstone Lions, Heworth, Hull Dockers, Ince Rose Bridge, Milford, Myton Warriors, Oulton Raiders, Saddleworth Rangers, Skirlaugh, Stanningley, Thornhill Trojans, West Bowling, Wigan St Patricks

British Army, Great Britain Police, RAF, Royal Navy

Ashton Bears, Bedford Tigers, Brentwood Eels, Distington, Doncaster Toll Bar, Dublin City Exiles, Edinburgh Eagles, Fryston Warriors, Hammersmith Hills Hoists, Jarrow Vikings, London Chargers, North Herts Crusaders, Orrell St James, Rhondda Outlaws, Waterhead, Westgate Common, Wests Warriors

Betfred Challenge Cup – Second Round draw

NCL (10) – Hunslet ARLFC, Leigh Miners, Lock Lane, Pilkington Recs, Rochdale Mayfield, Siddal, Thatto Heath Crusaders, Wath Brow Hornets, West Hull, York Acorn

Betfred League One (11) – Cornwall, Dewsbury Rams, Doncaster, Hunslet, London Skolars, Midlands Hurricanes, North Wales Crusaders, Oldham, Rochdale Hornets, West Wales Raiders, Workington Town